A four-year feud between two Plymouth Brethren organizations over a $27 million fund has ended, although not without rancor. On June 25, Stewards Foundation (SF), a Wheaton, Illinois-based corporation that provides loans to Brethren assemblies, dropped its appeal of a court ruling in favor of Stewards Ministries (SM), a Barrington, Illinois-based nonprofit that provides gifts and grants to Brethren assemblies, commended workers, and related ministries.
SF executive director Kevin Engle says many churches had urged the organization to drop its appeal after last August's ruling (CT, Nov. 13, 1995, p. 76). "We were not prepared for the aggressive maneuvering, delays, and obfuscation by SM and their attorneys. We are now turning the matter over to a much higher court, with God in heaven."
The end of the litigation means SM has been "completely vindicated," according to SM president Paul Regan. "This confirms that all of the actions of Stewards Ministries and its Board of Trustees were entirely legal and proper."
Both SM and SF say they hope to heal the rift, but wounds seem to remain. The two sides issued separate statements on the end of the legal matter.
"While we hold no personal animosity against these men, repentance and restitution must always precede reconciliation," Engle said of SM.
Meanwhile, Regan said, "We never believed the litigation was the appropriate or biblical way to resolve our differences."
A casualty of the strife and division has been the movement's 62-year-old monthly magazine, "Interest," which published its final issue in June. Interest Ministries has laid off four employees and will now publish a newsletter instead.1